Aug 20, 2020
AARP Awards More than $2.4 Million for Community Projects Nationwide
Twenty-four Coronavirus Response, Recovery Projects to Receive Funding

WASHINGTON, DCToday, AARP announced the largest number of AARP Community Challenge grants in its four-year history, awarding more than $2.4 million among 184 grantees nationwide. Communities and organizations receiving the funds will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Community Challenge grant program has awarded more than $3.6 million through 376 grants over the previous three years.

In response to extraordinary community needs this year, AARP added a new category for projects that support local governments and organizations as they respond to and recover from the coronavirus. AARP also invested additional funding in 2020 for projects in a range of diverse communities benefitting people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities in urban, rural and suburban areas. All Community Challenge grants will help make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jumpstart long-term change.

“We developed the Community Challenge grant program in response to mayors, local leaders and residents who asked for help building momentum for more livable communities nationwide; this year both coronavirus response and projects that aid diverse communities are acute needs,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “Many of our earlier grants have led to permanent changes, and the program continues to evolve. We are proud that this year AARP will fund 24 coronavirus response and recovery projects that support immediate local needs.”

All winning projects must be completed by December 18, 2020, and are designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Create vibrant public places by improving open spaces and parks and activating main streets.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options by increasing connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, and access a wider range of transportation choices.
  • Encourage the availability of a range of housing by increasing accessible and affordable housing solutions.
  • Increase civic engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” by bringing together local leaders and residents from all backgrounds to address challenges.
  • Support coronavirus response and recovery efforts by ensuring older adults’ access to information, essential services, and civic life.

Examples of this year’s Community Challenge projects include:

  • Building accessible garden beds and “Little Free Pantries” in Atlanta designed to support older adults experiencing food insecurity in refugee and marginalized communities;
  • Developing installations by local artists as well as socially-distant engagement sessions in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in Buffalo, N.Y.;
  • Launching a pilot program in Tulsa, Okla. that will help deliver groceries to older adults; and
  • Installing bicycle storage and shade structures in the Arts & Cultural District in Las Cruces, N.M.

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at www.aarp.org/communitychallenge and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at www.aarp.org/livable.

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

For further information: Amanda Davis, adavis@aarp.org, 202-434-2560